LEAD: Olympics: Struggling Uehara named to 24-man Beijing roster

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TOKYO, July 17 (17:39) Kyodo


Japan's Olympic baseball manager Senichi Hoshino kept struggling
Yomiuri Giants right-hander Koji Uehara on the final 24-man roster
for the Beijing Games on Thursday.

Uehara, who has pitched in major international events such as
the Athens Olympics and the World Baseball Classic, is having one of
the worst seasons of his career and his spot was in doubt before
Thursday's roster announcement for what could be the final Olympic
baseball tournament.

''I want to live up to the expectations of coaching staff who
chose me despite my dismal performance this season,'' Uehara told a
press conference. ''I know I have to do something to break out of
this slump. I'll just try not to cause trouble for the team.''

Uehara was sent to Yomiuri's farm team in late April after going
winless in five starts. He recently returned to the top team as a
reliever and is now 2-4 with a 6.46 ERA in 14 games for the season.

Nippon Ham Fighters right-hander Yu Darvish, Rakuten Eagles
right-hander Masahiro Tanaka and Hanshin Tigers first baseman
Takahiro Arai were also named to the team.

The roster is made up entirely of professionals as in Athens,
where Japan had to settle for the bronze.

''The entire Japanese Olympic team will receive an energy boost
at the Olympics if team sports produce good results. We'll aim at the
brightest medal,'' Hoshino said.

Japan will be seeking its first gold since baseball became an
official medal sport in 1992.

The International Olympic Committee voted three years ago to
remove baseball and softball from the 2012 London Olympic program.

Japan has won a silver and two bronzes, with one fourth-place

Japan's roster

Pitchers -- Koji Uehara (Yomiuri Giants), Kenshin Kawakami,
Hitoki Iwase (Chunichi Dragons), Kyuji Fujikawa (Hanshin Tigers), Yu
Darvish (Nippon Ham Fighters), Yoshihisa Naruse (Lotte Marines),
Tsuyoshi Wada, Toshiya Sugiuchi (Softbank Hawks), Masahiro Tanaka
(Rakuten Eagles), Hideaki Wakui (Seibu Lions)

Catchers -- Shinnosuke Abe (Yomiuri Giants), Akihiro Yano
(Hanshin Tigers), Tomoya Satozaki (Lotte Marines)

Infielders -- Masahiro Araki (Chunichi Dragons), Takahiro Arai
(Hanshin Tigers), Shuichi Murata (Yokohama BayStars), Shinya Miyamoto
(Yakult Swallows), Tsuyoshi Nishioka (Lotte Marines), Munenori
Kawasaki (Softbank Hawks), Hiroyuki Nakajima (Seibu Lions)

Outfielders -- Masahiko Morino (Chunichi Dragons), Norichika
Aoki (Yakult Swallows), Atsunori Inaba (Nippon Ham Fighters),
Takahiko G.G. Sato (Seibu Lions)

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